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Copyright and Intellectual Property

FAQs for classroom and virtual teaching

Use of Reserves, Course Packs, and Moodle

For materials requested through Reserves, our copyright clearance process permits use for the semester/term in which the request is made. This process also applies to course materials that Reserves makes available through Moodle and other courseware systems supported by Wesleyan. It is important to renew your requests each semester, and some materials may not be covered by our institution-wide license with the Copyright Clearance Center.

When requesting a course pack, we suggest using the CCC's RightFind Search to check whether the materials you would like to reproduce are covered by our academic license (you will be prompted to create a user account). You can also download a list of participating publishers.

The responsible use of Moodle, as relates to intellectual property and copyright, falls on faculty members as the users/curators of their own platforms. Please review the educational guidelines below, from Circular 21 of the U.S. Copyright Office (Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians). Additionally, it is important that access to materials is restricted to only the students enrolled in your course.


Guidelines for copying, scanning, and dissemination of materials
Remember, these are guidelines and not copyright law.

A single copy may be made of any of the following by or for a teacher at their individual request for scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:

  • a chapter from a book
  • an article from a periodical or newspaper
  • a short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not from a collective work
  • a chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper

Multiple copies (not to exceed in any event more than one copy per pupil in a course) may be made by or for the teacher giving the course for classroom use or discussion, provided that:

  • the copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity as defined below
  • meets the cumulative effect test as defined below
  • each copy includes a notice of copyright


  • Poetry: (a) A complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages or, (b) from a longer poem, an excerpt of not more than 250 words.
  • Prose: (a) Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, or (b) an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, but in any event a minimum of 500 words.
  • Each of the numerical limits stated above may be expanded to permit the completion of an unfinished line of a poem or of an unfinished prose paragraph.
  • Illustration: One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or per periodical issue.
  • “Special” works: Certain works in poetry, prose or in “poetic prose” which often combine language with illustrations and which are intended sometimes for children and at other times for a more general audience fall short of 2,500 words in their entirety. Such “special works” may not be reproduced in their entirety; however, an excerpt comprising not more than two of the published pages of such special work and containing not more than ten percent of the words found in the text thereof, may be reproduced.


  • The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher, and
  • The inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.

Cumulative Effect

  • The copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made.
  • Not more than one short poem, article, story, essay or two excerpts may be copied from the same author, nor more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.
  • There should not be more than nine instances of such multiple copying for one course during one class term.
  • These limitations do not apply to current news periodicals and newspapers and current news sections of other periodicals.

Notice of copyright

  • All copied materials should bear a notice of copyright on the first page, in this form: (c) year of copyright, name of copyright owner.

Other Restrictions

  • Copying should not be used to create or to replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works. Such replacement or substitution may occur whether copies of various works or excerpts therefrom are accumulated or reproduced and used separately.
  • There should be no copying of or from works intended to be “consumable” in the course of study or of teaching. These include workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and test booklets and answer sheets and like consumable material.
  • Copying should not: be a substitute for the purchase of books, publishers’ reprints or periodicals; be directed by higher authority; be repeated with respect to the same item by the same teacher from term to term.
  • No charge should be made to the student beyond the actual cost of the photocopying.

Yale University has developed Fair Use Tools that you may find helpful in making further decisions.